On Saturday, August 9 at 12:01 p.m., 28-year-old Darren Wilson confronted 18-year-old Michael Brown. According to press reports, Brown was walking down the middle of a street; Wilson was in his police car. Reports conflict as to what happened next, but three minutes later Brown was dead, his body riddled with six gun shots.
His body lay in the street for more than 4 hours.
Media organizations have reported widely:
- Ferguson has a population of about 21,000, of which about 60% are black
- Ferguson has 53 police officers; only three are black
- Although 9-out-of-10 searches and car stops involved blacks, only 1-in-5 were carrying contraband. Of the other 1-in-10 stops involving whites, 1-in-3 were carrying contraband.
Those stats reinforce a perception of the St. Louis community as being unjustly segregated.
On November 24, 2014, a St. Louis county grand jury (nine white jurors, three black, already empaneled at the time of the shooting) failed to indict Wilson on any charge.
In August, I wrote:
The injustices highlighted in Ferguson are not confined to Ferguson. Nor will they be resolved by random acts of violence. They might not even be resolved by time.
- The DOJ needs to set policy guidelines for police department composition
- Congress needs to curtail DHS grants and Pentagon give-aways.
There’s no guarantee that removing firepower will reduce an individual’s knee-jerk reaction, one that could easily snuff out an innocent life. But if it’s gone, you can’t use it nor can it affect your general sense of fear or power.
- August 18: Making sense of Ferguson (TMV)
- August 19: Law enforcement actions against journalists in Ferguson, MO (Storify)
- October 13: Weekend resistance in Ferguson (TMV/Storify)
- November 17: As the clock ticks in Missouri, the KKK rises from the shadows (TMV)
- November 26: We anticipated the decision, but nothing prepared us for this much bumbling (TMV)
- November 26: The Ferguson grand jury proceedings, dissected (TMV/Storify)
- November 28: DA last minute pivot re legal use of force in Wilson case (TMV)
- August 12: Echoes of Michael Brown’s death in St. Louis’ racially-charged past (Atlantic, Landon Jones)
- August 15: Ferguson police release the name of officer who shot Michael Brown (NPR)
- August 16: In Ferguson, three minutes — and two lives forever changed (WaPo)
- August 17: 20,000 sign petitions seeking special prosecutor in Michael Brown shooting (STLtoday.com)
- August 18: Autopsy shows Michael Brown was struck at least 6 times (NYT)
- August 23: Current Events in Ferguson: The Michael Brown Shooting (PBS LearningMedia)
- November 17: Wilson could go free even if convicted, legal experts say (STL public radio)
- November 24: Ferguson jury: no charges for officer in Michael Brown’s death (NPR)
- November 25: Everyone, on all sides, has had their worst suspicions confirmed (Politico, Sarah Kendzior)
- November 25: Ferguson prosecutor blames the media (Politico, Dylan Byers)
- November 25: Actually, Robert McCulloch, social media is doing a better job than you are (Vox, Todd VanDerWerff)
- November 26: One street has boutiques. Another has dollar stores. Guess which one the police protected? (Politico, Sarah Kendzior)
- November 29: Perceptions of reality – and a failure to indict (TMV, Walter Brasch)
- November 29: Race. Something to talk about (St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board)
- November 29: Civil rights groups leading march from Ferguson to Jefferson City (STLtoday.com)